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Now that we are one year past the general elections, you may be thinking, “Now what?”

This is the perfect time to raise your voice and ask your elected officials to prioritize causes you care about — including world hunger. Through this guide, I will provide a step-by-step process for how to get in touch with your elected officials, as well as how to talk to them about global hunger.

Step One: Identify your elected officials. A good resource to use is this website, where you can find representatives from the local, state and federal levels.

Step Two: Secure your talking points. Make a clear plan for what you want to talk about, whether it be an issue as a whole, or a specific bill. There are many issues representatives will be hearing about, so make sure to get your talking points down. Whether you speak by phone or email, it is important to be clear and concise. For more information and for helpful tips for creating a script, visit Results.

The author with Rise Against Hunger colleagues at the 2016 RESULTS advocacy conference in Washington, D.C.

Step Three: Reach out. Call and email your representatives. Recent events have shown that when representatives are contacted by their constituents, they take notice. Even if you do not talk to your representative directly, it is still helpful to speak with their staff and create a relationship. Make sure you are prepared with information, and try not to be nervous — it is our representatives’ job to hear from their constituents, and they (and their staff members) are happy to take calls and read emails.

Step Four: Review their voting record. Do your homework on the elected official you are contacting to find out how they typically vote. If they often vote in support of international aid or hunger relief programs, you can affirm that these issues are something their constituents care about. If they do not typically vote in favor of international aid or hunger relief programs, this is a fantastic opportunity to talk with them about why you think such initiatives are important.

Step Five: Get on the schedule. Reach out to the elected official to schedule a meeting or to invite them to an event. Often times, this will mean finding out who the scheduler for the elected official is, as most elected officials have a scheduler responsible for collecting all the information about the meeting or event. Make sure in your initial email includes information about the event date, time and location. Ensure that it is clear if there will be media at the event, or a speaking opportunity, so he or she can prepare.

If you are reaching out to a member of Congress to invite them to an event or request a meeting, remember: they are not always in their home state. The legislative schedule typically takes a long break in the summer (typically the month of August) as well as breaks around Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to visit D.C., be aware of when Congress is in recess so that you don’t waste a trip.

Want to find out more about how you can use your voice to make ending hunger a priority? Sign up to become a Hunger Champion today.

Shared in Advocacy, Blog